Our top 5 long reads of 2020

In-depth reporting that you may have missed.

We've made it to the final week of 2020—a big accomplishment in a year that felt never-ending.

With the holidays here, you may have a little more time to relax. Wondering what to do with that time? We've got you covered.


Kick up your feet, grab a mug of your favorite hot drink and settle in to catch up on our top five long reads of the year. From the ocean floor to the forests of North Carolina to the blustery North, below are our top investigations and features.

1. Unplugged: Abandoned oil and gas wells leave the ocean floor spewing methane

Gulf of Mexico oil and gas drilling

The Gulf of Mexico is littered with tens of thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells, and toothless regulation leaves climate warming gas emissions unchecked.

2. How Europe’s wood pellet appetite worsens environmental racism in the US South

An expanding wood pellet market in the Southeast has fallen short of climate and job goals—instead bringing air pollution, noise and reduced biodiversity in majority Black communities.

3. ‘Them plants are killing us’: Inside a cross-border battle against cancer and pollution

Air pollution Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Two communities — one in Canada, one in the U.S. — share both a border along the St. Marys River and a toxic legacy that has contributed to high rates of cancer. Now the towns are banding together to fight a ferrochrome plant.

4. Microplastics in farm soils: A growing concern

Researchers say that more microplastics pollution is getting into farm soil than oceans—and these tiny bits are showing up in our fruits, veggies, and bodies.

5. Exempt from inspection: States ignore lead-contaminated meat in food banks

Hunter-donated meat provides crucial protein to US food banks. But an EHN investigation found a lack of oversight that could result in potentially hundreds of thousands of lead-contaminated meals this year.

Banner photo: The Algoma steel plant after sunset, in Sault Ste., Marie, Ont., on Friday, Jan., 17, 2020. (Credit: Christopher Katsarov Luna/EHN)

Climate politics, Pogo edition

Will an old comic strip expression define upcoming global climate talks?

Is anyone really, truly surprised that President Biden's relatively ambitious plan to address climate change is being axed so quickly from his infrastructure package?

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www.opendemocracy.net

Glasgow’s COP26 is crunch time to save the world from disaster

Looking back on 30 years of climate conferences, Geoffrey Lean recalls the many missed opportunities for change that led us to this boiling point
www.theguardian.com

Concrete: the most destructive material on Earth

After water, concrete is the most widely used substance on the planet. But its benefits mask enormous dangers to the planet, to human health – and to culture itself

Violence, strikes, and India’s farmers want you to see it

A year on, protesters against the country’s agricultural laws are taking an increasingly confrontational approach with the country’s leaders.